Pre-Game Franalysis: Iowa at Indiana

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

If Iowa wants to stay in the race for the Big Ten title, they can't afford a slip up against the Hoosiers in Bloomington on Tuesday night.

EDIT: Yes, this is based on the numbers as of last Tuesday, so it's not 100% up to date or accurate.  The numbers are still pretty close-ish.  -- Ross (2/27)

Here's your statistical preview for the Indiana game. I recommend using it to supplement Pat's Franimal Planet preview, which will be up later.

Please note that all rankings and projections are based on my own personal ratings.

First, a quick primer on how to read the four factor charts below. 100 is equal to the Division I average with each point above or below 100 being equal to 1% above or below the national average. For example: A rating of 105 = 5% above average and a rating of 95 = 5% below average. Basically, the higher the number is above 100 the better a team is in that category. Also, all ratings are adjusted for strength of schedule. (A more in-depth explanation of my ratings and everything below can be found here.)

Infographic is available here.

#4 Iowa at #65 Indiana

When: Tuesday, February 18th, 8:00 PM CT
Where: Assembly Hall

When Iowa Has the Ball

Offense_medium

Indiana's strong side of the ball is on defense, coming into this game with an adjusted defensive efficiency (DE+) 10% better than than the national average. The numbers suggest that they match up with the Hawkeyes' offense and their +15% adjusted offensive efficiency (OE+) pretty well. The Hoosiers excel at contesting (and blocking) shots and keeping their opponents off the free throw line. They are also 17% above average at grabbing defensive boards. The only category in which the Hoosier defense isn't quite a bit above the norm is when it comes to forcing turnovers. Iowa has at least a slight advantage in three of the four factors, but it will be interesting to see how this match up goes on Indiana's home court.

Advantage: Iowa (Slightly)

When Indiana Has the Ball

Defense_medium

Here's the weakness that Iowa should try to exploit if they want to pull out a win on the road. Indiana's offense doesn't look all that bad when you take out the turnovers. They are an average shooting team that grabs a lot of their misses and draws a more than ample amount of fouls. Their main problem, though, is holding onto the ball. Indiana is currently one of the worst teams in the nation at not coughing up the ball and they are the worst team in the Big Ten in this category. This issue has helped drop an otherwise pretty good offense down to an average one. (OE+ rating of 100)

Meanwhile, Iowa's DE+ rating of 12% better than average seems to match up fairly well with Indiana's offense. The Hawkeyes should be able to hold Indiana to a low shooting percentage (assuming the Yogi Ferrell that hit 7 three pointers vs. Michigan doesn't show up) and force plenty of turnovers. In addition, the free throw battle should be competitive, while Iowa will have to do their best to keep Noah Vonleh and Co. off the offensive glass. Overall, though, I like Iowa on this side of the ball.

Advantage: Iowa

Team Shooting Comparison

Shooting_medium

Iowa has the shooting advantage from the field, while both teams are basically equal from the free throw line.

Flipping over to defense, Iowa's opponents have had a slightly harder time putting the ball through the basket this season, but both teams have been very good, in total.

Team Shooting Tendencies

Shots_medium

This is the first time pretty much all season that Iowa's opponent has had a similar shooting profile to them. Normally, the opposing squad is significantly more three point-heavy compared to Fran's bunch, but Indiana is almost Iowa's twin. They like to get out and run in transition, they aren't great at shooting (although, Iowa is better this season), and they love to get to the free throw line.

Team Scoring Tendencies

Scoring_medium

And because they have similar shooting profiles, both teams have similar scoring profiles. Twinsies, you guys.

Projected Win Probability: Iowa 82.39%, Indiana 17.61%

Projected Score: Iowa 73, Indiana 66

Projected Points Per Possession: Iowa 1.00, Indiana 0.91

Projected Possessions: 73

The numbers project a fast-paced, defense-dominated game. Looking at the charts above, it's pretty easy to see why that's the case. But, honestly, this game makes me a little nervous (what Big Ten game doesn't nowadays?), so the win percentage for Iowa is a bit high for my liking. For comparison, Kenpom has Iowa at 73% and I think I would be more comfortable picking Iowa to win three times in a four game series at Indiana this year. Iowa's the better team and should be favored to win this game, but the memories of what took place in conference play just this past Sunday are all too fresh in our collective minds. With that being said, though, if Iowa can do just enough on offense in this one, their defense should be enough of an advantage for them to come back to Iowa City with their Big Ten title hopes still intact.

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